Skip to comments.Don't blame warm globe on global warming
Posted on 07/25/2006 3:19:19 PM PDT by bkwells
In the quaint old days, when a heat wave like the one we're experiencing hit, you didn't worry about, oh, the planet's health or Earth's ability to sustain itself.
You got a fan.
But now when temperatures soar to record-breaking highs, as they did in San Diego County on Saturday, one of the first things that comes to mind is global warming.
One can't help but wonder: Is that the cause of the sweltering heat? Are the record highs a sign that global warming is not the imagination of former Vice President Al Gore and so many nerdy scientists?
Taken by itself, the current heat wave is not out of the ordinary, said Don Whitlow, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in San Diego. It's summer. And it's hot.
Natural cycles happen, he said.
In El Cajon, it was 113 on Saturday, beating the day's all-time record by a whopping 12 degrees. In Escondido, where the previous record high was 96, it hit 112.
Even yesterday, when temperatures dropped a bit, the city of San Diego recorded its hottest and wettest July 24 in history. The high of 85 broke the 1959 record, and the 0.01 of an inch of rain broke the record of a trace, which last occurred in 1990.
One could look at yearly temperatures over the past 100 years and find similar variations, Whitlow said.
But climate experts say such temperature spikes may be happening more frequently and more fiercely because of the many decades we've spent burning fossil fuels.
Kerry Emanuel, a professor of meteorology in MIT's Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, said global warming can't be pinned on any particular weather occurrence.
Instead, it's sort of like a smoker's chances of coming down with lung cancer, he said. It ups the probability.
Claudia Tebaldi, a project scientist with the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., agreed.
These things happen. They're called extremes, she said. But the conditions are more conducive for them to happen more often.
Whitlow said San Diego County's current heat wave is the result of a large high-pressure system that has stalled over the region. It will go away in a few days or so, he predicted, as soon as the high-pressure system is disrupted by another weather system.
Global warming? Chances are, that won't go away. Skeptics remain, but the scientific community is pretty much consistent in saying it's for real.
Experts like Tebaldi say Saturday's record highs may be superseded by new record highs. And sooner than in previous times.
The odds of these kinds of events are increasing because of climate change, she said. Just as the base line is getting higher, the extremes are shooting up.
The heat wave arrived when global warming was already a hot topic. Gore's book and movie, An Inconvenient Truth which warns that the phenomenon is about to reach a tipping point, leaving humankind virtually helpless to stop it has received excellent reviews and has grossed nearly $20 million nationwide.
In addition, some scientists, including Kerry Emanuel, are linking powerful storms such as Hurricane Katrina to global warming. Such monstrous weather occurrences will become more common, experts say.
The one bright note?
The unusual weather may help spur change.
Every time temperatures spike, people might begin wondering if global warming just may be the cause. And that's a good thing, experts say.
We need to be more cognizant, Emanuel said.
Michael Stetz: (619) 293-1720; email@example.com
No, the worst possibility is that the current interglacial period ends soon, and the next ice age starts. Believe me, if you are around when the next ice age starts marching in, you will long for the days of global warming.
I'm hoping this warming trend lasts for the remainder of my life.
You are absolutely right, of course. Canada has been both much warmer and much colder.
When it was colder, Canada was often covered with ice for tens of thousands of years at a time.
When it was much warmer, Canada was sub-tropical, perhaps even tropical.
The "hockey stick" graph is complete nonsense. It's the kind of thing you can get when you look at a tiny slice of data. Over the last 600 million years the Earth's average temperature has fluctuated from a low of about 53 degrees (F) to a high of about 74. Currently it's about 59.
When you look at graphs covering longer and longer periods of time, starting from your "hockey stick" time period, you see all kinds of interesting patterns.
Over shorter periods of time (a few centuries) the fluctuations seem to be controlled largely by changes in the amount of heat put out by the Sun.
Over tens of thousands of years, the cycles seem to be tied more to the Earth's orbital dynamics (precession, changes in the eccentricity of Earth's orbit, etc.).
Over tens of millions of years, it seems to be continental drift that is most important. Right now, we have a continent covering the South Pole and ocean with little latitudinal circulation at the North Pole. this makes the Earth cold, and has us locked in a series of ice ages.
The hockey stick refers to the reent rate of increase and IF it continues it will be a problem.
The fact that it was warmer a million years ago doesn't help us much - we weren't trying to sustain a civilization then.
"Claudia Tebaldi, a project scientist with the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., agreed."
This is incorrect. The Hockey Stick is a propaganda device created by Michael Mann mixing real, measured data with proxy data and some bogus data.
Do a keyword search on Mannmade. The Hockey Stick has been totally discredited.
AG, do you have anything worked up, reguarding Mann?
For one thing, it doesn't account for the flat spot between 1945 and 1976 with rising temps before and after.
There aren't going to be any more ice ages or oven ages on Earth. Those only occur in nature when humans aren't around to manage the environment with technology. Earth's wild days are coming to an end.
I think conservatives need to take a new tack: embrace environmental change as an engineering problem. Suddenly conservatives stand to benefit.
The left is fascinated by global warming as a vehicle to create a world-wide monster government. In a judo-like move, we can use their envy fueled momentum to fund great R&D projects. The last time this happened was during WWII, when Americans faced a real life or death threat. We're still riding the results of that technology wave.
But we need to carefully monitor the situation - we're already at a 100,000 year high and IF the current trend continues over the next few decades we could break the 400,000 year high.
The trend into the break downward over the last 3kyrs in the 100ky cycle is of real concern for the longterm of mankind and the ecosystem in which we have prospered.
Figure 1-2 Climate of the last 2400 years
Figure 1-3 Climate of the last 12,000 years
Breaking upward is not even in the cards as Eath's obital inclination leaves the lower quadrants of the ecliptic frame sustaining the current interglacial period.
Spectrum of 100-kyr glacial cycle: Orbital inclination, not eccentricity
Richard A. Muller* and Gordon J. MacDonald
Origin of the 100 kyr Glacial Cycle
by Richard A. Muller
Figure 3. Variations of the inclination vector of the Earth's orbit. The inclination i is the angle between this vector and the vector of the reference frame; Omega is the azimuthal angle = the angle of the ascending node (in astronomical jargon).. In (A), (B), and (C) the measurements are made with respect to the zodiacal (or ecliptic) frame, i.e. the frame of the current orbit of the Earth. In (D), (E), and (F) the motion has been trasformed to the invariable frame, i.e. the frame of the total angular momentum of the solar system. Note that the primary period of oscillation in the zodiacal frame (A) is 70 kyr, but in the invariable plane (D) it is 100 kyr.
But none of this proves reducing CO2 will help.
Guaranteed removing CO2, as astrophysical clock moves forward in its inevitable dance about the solar mean plane, will be of no avail whatever in fact it could be outright counterproductive were the effect of CO2 be of any consequence at all against the major natural cycles at play.
>>Breaking upward is not even in the cards as Eath's obital inclination leaves the lower quadrants of the ecliptic frame sustaining the current interglacial period.<<
I sure hope you are right. Most of the MIT/CalTech types I talk to aren't so confident about that.
Frankly, all I want out of this debate (in the country, not just between Freepers) is an agreement not to cripple the economy without a great deal more human causation evidence together with a much higher level of confidence that global temperatures will continue at the current delta.
Among Freepers, my goals are higher, I think those of us in Georgia should get together, drink some beer and discuss it... :)
Frankly, all I want out of this debate (in the country, not just between Freepers) is an agreement not to cripple the economy without a great deal more human causation evidence
That I can agree with.
together with a much higher level of confidence that global temperatures will continue at the current delta.
Judging from the geological record, staying where we have been at in the last 8kys even is unlikely in the extreme. I would say we can reasonably figure on toggling between deep glacial conditions and moderate temperatures for a few more million years if that is your delta.
My chart can beat up your chart.